No. 3 Michigan State rides hot start to 81-63 win over No. 5 Notre Dame

No. 3 Michigan State (6-1) took down No. 5 Notre Dame (6-1), 81-63, at home on Thursday in the Big Ten/ACC Challenge.

In doing so, the Spartans beat their second top-10 team in a week. Next they will open up Big Ten play on Sunday against Nebraska.

WHY: Michigan State won because it got off to such a strong start. The Spartans got out in transition and either finished at the rim or with pull-up jumpers. On the rare occasion that they missed shots early, they got on the offensive glass. When all was said and done, Michigan State had rebounded 15 of its 29 missed shots. Nick Ward and Miles Bridges led the way with 3 offensive rebounds apiece.

WHAT IT MEANS: The win only gave the Big Ten three wins in its annual challenge with the ACC, but Michigan State got exactly what it needed. The Spartans earned their second win over a top-10 team in three tries this season. They might not have an opportunity for a third such win until the postseason, given how weak the Big Ten has looked so far.

WHO STARRED: Josh Langford brought the energy for Michigan State early on, making those blazing runs up the sideline and scoring off the dribble. When Notre Dame started jumping at him, he utilized the pump fake and hit his signature mid-range jumper off of one dribble. When the Spartans struggled in the second half, he always seemed to come through with a contested shot. Langford might be Michigan State’s top one-on-one player.

WHO STUMBLED: Jaren Jackson Jr. This isn’t a reflection on the freshman big man’s performance on the court. Early on, he was a nightmare for Notre Dame star Bonzie Colson, with his length affecting every shot. But then Jackson got into foul trouble and couldn’t get out. Whenever he would get back into the game, he got called for another, leading to an irate coach Tom Izzo. He finished with 5 points, 3 rebounds and 3 blocks. In his 14 minutes on the floor, Michigan State outscored Notre Dame by 13 points.

WHO WAS THERE: Marcus Bingham Jr. took in the game from right around mid-court. He’s hard to miss. The rail-thin 6-foot-10 Spartans signee, a 4-star senior forward in the 247Sports composite ratings, took in the game with his brother Mykel, who is sprouting into a lanky recruit himself.

WHO IS NEXT: Michigan State will open up Big Ten play on Sunday against Nebraska in the early start to conference play that will allow the Big Ten Tournament to be played in Madison Square Garden a week ahead of schedule. The Spartans’ home battle with the Huskers at 4:30 p.m. ET on FOX Sports 1.


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